1

What is the difference between "afterwards" and "later" in the following sentences:

  1. We were today in the metro station and later in the supermarket.
  2. We were today in the metro station and afterwards in the supermarket.

Practically speaking, can I say that 'later' means not immediately and 'afterwards' is immediately? I would like also to know if I can use them interchangeably in the context that I showed.

  • No significant difference. Were you expecting one? – Andrew May 18 '18 at 1:09
  • I thought maybe 'later' means not immediately and 'afterwards' is immediately. Isn't it? – Judicious Allure May 18 '18 at 7:51
  • You need to explain why you are asking. Edit and include your comment in the actual question. And please include dictionary links to both terms. – Mari-Lou A May 18 '18 at 8:29
  • Adverbs of time, e.g. yesterday, at 5 o'clock, last year etc. are best placed at the end of a long sentence, or at the beginning, if the sentence is short(ish). "Today we were in the metro and later in the supermarket" – Mari-Lou A May 18 '18 at 8:32
  • 1
    @subtle_sibling Thanks. The edited question helps us give you a useful answer. – Andrew May 18 '18 at 15:06
3

They do mean slightly different things although they can be used, as in the original post, to mean the same thing.

Afterwards indicates that a specific event has occurred after another specific event.

"We are going to the movies and afterwards we are going out to eat."

If you want string events together in this structure you would do it like this:

"We are going to the movies and afterwards to eat and after that to the zoo and after that to play laser tag."

Later merely indicates that something is happening a point in time later then the current point in time. This can be tied to the order of specific events in the manner of afterwards:

"We are going to the movies and later we're going out to eat"

or it can show the relationship between an event/events and point in time:

"Later we're going out to eat."

You would string events together in this structure like this:

"Later we are going to the movies and even later we are going to the zoo."

You cannot say, "Afterwards we are going out to eat," because the listener needs to know, "After what?"

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-2

The sentences would mean...

  1. You possibly would go anywhere before you went to the supermarket.
  2. The supermarket is the next location, you did't go anywhere else after you left the metro station.
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